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Assignment Questions

Statue Proposal on an Historical Scientific Revolution Inventor

Imagine that Caltech plans to build a new statue to honor an inventor or innovator of the Scientific Revolution of the 16th-17th centuries. They have put out a call for statue proposals on behalf of any historical person. Pick an inventor or innovator of the Scientific Revolution that you feel is worthy of this statue, and has not gotten enough recognition (in other words, you can’t pick Copernicus, Galileo, or Newton). See the list below for ideas. Imagine you are going before the Caltech Board of Directors to make a “pitch” (a persuasive argument) that they build a statue you’ve proposed. So…

1. Design the statue. You should sketch it a picture of it and describe it. Consider:
a. How big should it be?
b. What material should it be made of?
c. Is your person in it? In what pose or posture? What is he or she doing in it?
d. Are there other symbolic items incorporated into the statue? (as in, is your person holding a certain book, or a piece of scientific equipment, etc). Why?

You can hand-draw the picture, though it should look finished and professional, but these explanation pieces should be typed in a short paragraph.

2. Write your proposal to convince the board. You will have only two minutes to make this pitch so your proposal should be no longer than a page or a page and a half, double-spaced. Make sure that you:
a. Explain in a compelling, persuasive way why this person was so significant in terms of his or her importance or innovation that she or he deserves a statue at Caltech.
b. Write it in a way that it will be read aloud and sound great. Think of this as a speech, rather than as a paper. If all goes well, you’ll perform this in front of some of your peers.
c. Cite your sources with Chicago-style footnotes and attach a Bibliography.

Some ideas for innovators or inventors to choose from, and their fields, more or less (if you pick someone not on this list, check with me first):

Johannes Kepler – astronomy
Maria Winkelmann – astronomy
Andreas Vesalius ??” anatomy
William Harvey ??” anatomy
Regnier de Graaf ??” anatomy
Marcello Malpighi – anatomy
Ambroise Pare – surgery
Maria Sibylla Merian ??” zoology and botany
Pierre Fauchard ??” dentistry
Blaise Pascal ??” physics, etc
Margaret Cavendish ??” natural philosophy
John Hadley ??” navigation
Leeuwenhoek – optics
Denis Papin – engineering
Abraham Darby I ??” engineering
Otto von Guericke ??” electricity
Robert Boyle ??” chemistry
Antoine Lavoisier ??” chemistry
Leonhart Fuchs ??” botany
Edmond Halley ??” astronomy
Thomas Newcomen ??” engineer

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